Differentiated thyroid cancer in children

L F De Keyser, A J Van Herle
Head & Neck Surgery 1985, 8 (2): 100-14
Differentiated thyroid cancer in children remains a controversial disease entity. Its incidence has markedly declined over the last decade since the use of radiotherapy in the treatment of benign conditions of the head, neck, and thorax was abandoned. Other etiologic factors have become relatively more important. The clinical presentation of childhood thyroid cancer is similar to that found in adults, except for a higher frequency of local and distant metastases at the time of initial diagnosis. The specificity and sensitivity of diagnostic tests are limited; however, like in adults, fine-needle aspiration compares favorably with other available diagnostic methods. The therapeutic approach to a child with thyroid cancer represents the most controversial issue associated with the disease. This review provides a discussion of the rationale for the different therapeutic options and emphasizes the excellent prognosis and survival rates, especially when patients are subjected to aggressive treatment with total thyroidectomy followed by the administration of radioactive iodine.

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